Toughie 2049 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2049

Toughie No 2049 by Firefly

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment **

There’s nought to rattle the thoroughbreds here today and, to be honest, the puzzle won’t last long in the memory. I’m not sure that I understand 26a – it seems to be a subtractive anagram (as discussed yesterday) but I can’t see the need for an anagram at all. There is a mini-theme based on some of the marches composed by 1a. Thanks to Firefly.

Please leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of it.

Across Clues

1a Heather, holding firm, put back man behind bars (4,6)
ERIC COATES: it’s not ‘ling’ so it must be Crosswordland’s other favourite heather. Insert the abbreviation for a firm in it and append the reversal of a verb to put. The answer is a man responsible for (musical) bars.

6a Buffet we enjoyed, including sweet (4)
TWEE: hidden.

9a Theatre roof’s western section’s not original (5)
REPRO: stick together the abbreviation for a type of theatre involving frequent changes to the programme and the left half of ‘roof’.

10a Sleek tram travels and turns at Aviemore? (9)
TELEMARKS: an anagram (travels) of SLEEK TRAM. Aviemore is an example of a ski resort.

12a Hospital in cobbled street, in which staunch business will produce film (3,3,7)
THE DAM BUSTERS: insert the abbreviation for hospital into an anagram (cobbled, excellent!) of STREET which also contains a verb to staunch or block and an abbreviation for business. Here’s the famous theme to the film, composed by 1a:

ARVE Error: need id and provider

14a Patient‘s departed (8)
RESIGNED: double definition. It’s worrying when you see a message saying that a top player from your favourite professional sports team has departed by this means when what the sender meant was 2-6 (i.e. put pen to a new contract).

15a Cable has sandwiches with Her Majesty (6)
HAWSER: ‘has’ contains the abbreviation for ‘with’ and Her Majesty’s cipher brings up the rear.

17a Wrong receptacle leaking hydrogen (6)
ASTRAY: the sort of receptacle no longer needed in pubs (thank goodness!) without the chemical symbol for hydrogen.

19a Never caressed? Never mind! (3,5)
LET ALONE: this phrase could mean ‘never having been caressed (or pestered, for example)’.

21a Corrupted disk? Bring the head in from Google (London area)! (13)
KNIGHTSBRIDGE: an anagram (corrupted) of DISK BRING THE containing the top (head) letter from G(oogle). The answer is a name of one of 1a’s marches (from his London Suite).

24a They might turn round wearing green, taking heart from 20 (9)
INVERTERS: ‘wearing green’ (2,4) followed by the central letters of the answer to 20d. It seems to me that ‘up’ rather than ’round’ would improve both the definition and the surface.

25a Mike entertains me informally, giving works by 1 Across, perhaps? (5)
MUSIC: a different abbreviation for microphone contains a word favoured by some people (including users of the ‘royal we’) to mean ‘me’.

26a Terribly fearsome, reviewed from afar, but calm (4)
EASE: an anagram (terribly) of [F]EA[r]S[om]E as seen once the letters of ‘from’ have been removed. I’m confused by this one – if we remove ‘from’ from fearsome we’re left with the answer without needing an anagram. Am I missing something?

27a Maybe 10 and 11 in side learnt painfully? (4-6)
TAIL-ENDERS: here’s the obligatory crickety clue. It’s an anagram (painfully) of SIDE LEARNT.

Down Clues

1d Terrorist occasionally makes mistakes (4)
ERRS: select just the even letters.

2d The setter’s favourite American drive (7)
IMPETUS: string together the contracted form of ‘the setter is’ as he might say it, a synonym for favourite and an abbreviation for American.

3d Hog! 9 cars he wrecked, avoiding small person leading us a merry dance! (13)
CHOREOGRAPHER: make an anagram (wrecked) of HOG CARS HE and the answer to 9a without the abbreviation for small.

4d Creature needs to eat, missing nothing, coming in terribly near (8)
ANTEATER: insert ‘to eat’ without the letter resembling zero into an anagram (terribly, for the second time) of NEAR.

5d From one’s shelf for ‘Humour’: ‘Back Around Ten’ (2,3)
EX LIB: reverse a humour (as ascribed to the human body by the ancient Greeks) and insert the Roman numeral for ten.

7d Staff with overweight types when Penny leaves (7)
WORKERS: start with the abbreviation (again) of ‘with’ and add a derogatory term for overweight people without the abbreviation for a penny. 1a composed a march called “Calling all *******” which was the title song of the long-running radio programme “Music while you work”.

8d Comfortable situation that could go downhill? (4,6)
EASY STREET: this could describe a road on which a cyclist (for example) doesn’t need to use too much energy.

11d 25 from which I’ll drop a beat, initially delighting old chap in former Middle Eastern state (6,3,4)
MUSCAT AND OMAN: to get the name of this cobbled-together old state take a deep breath and assemble the answer to 25a without its ‘I’, A, a verb to beat, the initial letter of delighting, the abbreviation for old and a synonym for chap.

13d Money fine, arranged to purchase grand slicer (5,5)
BREAD KNIFE: start with an informal word for money and add an anagram (arranged) of FINE including an abbreviation for grand (thousand pounds).

16d Rip’s involved in veritable eye for an eye … (8)
REPRISAL: insert an anagram (involved) of RIP’S into an adjective meaning veritable or authentic.

18d … steals the article mentioned about first lady (7)
THIEVES: a pronoun identifying an article previously mentioned contains the name of the Biblical first lady.

20d Manage to put poem into Old English (7)
OVERSEE: put another word for a poem into the abbreviation for Old English.

22d Some Patagonian eisteddfod participants put up in walled city (5)
SIENA: hidden in reverse.

23d They only receive single tokens in a pack (4)
ACES: Cryptic definition of the four members of a pack which have but a single token or symbol printed on them.

My favourite clue (for the picture it evokes of the aged LibDem leader enjoying a picnic with Her Majesty) is 15a. Do let us know which clue(s) pleased you?

15 comments on “Toughie 2049

  1. I’m glad I checked it wasn’t ‘just me’ who found this difficult as I took a lot longer than Gazza’s 2* time to finish this one off

    Thanks to Firefly and to Gazza too

  2. I found this relatively gentle and quite enjoyable. The only clue I couldn’t fully parse was 26a and so was hoping for some clarity from the review. However I see that our esteemed reviewer has struggled to explain it too. If Gazza can’t make sense of it, what hope have we mere mortals got?

    Many thanks to Firefly and to Gazza.

  3. Well, the thoroughbreds here were definitely a little discombobulated, Gazza!
    I didn’t know the skiing term and had to consult with Mr Google over the Middle Eastern state. Then I struggled to make sense of 26a and couldn’t sort out the fodder for the 3d anagram despite having the answer in place.

    15a definitely appealed but I have to give top billing to 12a – not only the march of the branch of the armed forces my dear old Dad belonged to but also the anthem of my House at school.

    Thanks to Firefly and to our (possibly a bit grumpy?) Gazza.

  4. I wasn’t able to complete this, I’m afraid. I didn’t know 1a,10a, 5d & 11d. A few others I got but just couldn’t parse.

    Not my cup of tea today.

    Thanks to all.

  5. Having finished the puzzle I am now just reading the blog listening to the stirring strains of 12a. A lovely tribute to 1a – one of my favourite composers. Thank you Firefly

  6. Flashed trough this fairly quickly with only having to raise an eyebrow in bafflement at 26a. Couldn’t remember the composer straight off but when ‘ling’ wouldn’t fit it could only be the forename of the young girl who set hearts aflutter at Twickenham all those years ago (saw her on Bear Grylls Island – she hasn’t aged well). Then again, I haven’t either :smile:

    Favourite of the day is 15a.

    Thanks to Firefly for the puzzle and to Gazza for his review.

  7. I agree with Gazza’s ratings. (And I’m not grumpy, because a new cat in our road is beginning to become nicely affectionate!) Though there were a couple of things new or hazy to me, the wordplay in those cases did the job.

    I didn’t make a note by 24a, but there’s one by 21a wondering if “bring the head from Google in” wouldn’t work a little better both in the cryptic grammar and in the surface.

    Had the same big question mark over 26a, and didn’t really like the use of “tokens” in 23d, though I’m sure it works.

    My favourite is 19a.

    Thanks to Firefly and Gazza.

  8. I needed to check some of the geography, Aviemore and the place for 22d, which added to this being a not too straightforward solve for me. Also had trouble justifying 26a but eventually got everything else sorted.
    Thanks Firefly and Gazza.

  9. I found this one decidedly tricky in places and after a fairly brisk start it wound up to be a bit of a mission to complete.

    Thanks to Gazza and Firefly.

  10. Perhaps not completely straightforward, but not a monster either. So middling. :-) I’ve never heard of 1ac so that took a little unpicking, and was therefore blissfully unaware that there might be a theme. I hadn’t noticed that 26ac has an unneeded anagram until now, oh well… Thankfully got 12ac without the need to parse it fully, and sort of saw 21ac quickly enough, luckily, because that’s a lot of letters to be sorting through. 10ac prompted a – what? – but it turns out it is a thing.

  11. Humph! Not easy this time! Could only do the southern half then a few elsewhere before having to come here. I would point out that 24a can work in any direction, especially in the electronic sense, but I agree with others that 26a was overkill, for once, in a clue. Is it just me or do others feel there is over-reliance on having solved some clues first because you then need them to solve others? E.g. 9a for 3d, 25a for 11d, 20d for 24a? Would it be fair to say that it would be better if the setter gave us more of a clue to work with and not doing so is…well… a bit lazy?!

    I also had never heard of 1a nor did I know he was the composer of such lovely numbers as 12a, but 25a told us he was a composer, “giving works by” rather gives it away anyway. 10a reminded me of the film “The heroes of…” although the only skiing turn term I have ever heard of was a stem Christiana or something, but then I have never been skiing. I just knew that Aviemore has a lot of it and I knew the film.

    I also don’t feel that the clue to 19a is all that clear, “never caressed” , fine, but “never mind”? don’t think so! Didn’t stop me getting it though, unlike most of the northern half! Coming from Hull, 15a was easy, and fun! Thought 21a was perfectly fair. Sorry Kitty!

    Really liked 27a.
    Ah well, better luck next time!

    1. The ‘never mind’ in 19a means ‘to say nothing of’ or ‘let alone’ as in the sentence “His injury meant that he couldn’t walk, let alone play football”.

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